What we call wilderness fire is the merger, collision, mixture, alliance, confrontation, and altogether curious and perplexing association of two very different traditions. One is nature preservation, particularly as expressed in wilderness; the other anthropogenic fire. Each is itself a hybird of the natural and the cultural. Each belongs to a tradition with its own autonomous history. For a period of time, however, these two phenomena converged, like continents colliding, and those cultural tectonics had powerful consequences for both wilderness and fire management. Now they are rifting apart.